Posts By: Scott Brown

Gas Oven Hot Surface Ignition Systems – Technology and Troubleshooting

Posted on March 29, 2016 by - Academy Talk, Tech Talk

Most modern gas ovens use a carborundum ignitor to both control the gas valve and ignite the gas. Even though these are simple systems, I've found that many appliance technicians do not have a detailed understanding of how these systems work and, as a result, there's a lot "tech mythology" out there about how they fail.

This HOT webinar recording from an Office Hours webinar with Master Samurai Tech Academy students explains the theory of operation of these systems along with a detailed circuit analysis. I also explain some of the common failure modes and show an uncommon failure mode that can leave a gas bomb in your customer's home unless you know what you're looking for.

Our weekly, live Office Hours webinars are one of the powerful, interactive features of being a student at the MST Academy. You get access to in-depth technical presentations such as this one as well as the opportunity to ask the Samurai any questions you have related to your coursework!

 

 

Master Samurai Tech Radio Episode 14

Posted on March 26, 2016 by - MST Radio

In this long-awaited episode:
- Mr. Appliance tech training website powered by Master Samurai Tech
- ASTI 2016 recap and discussion
- Industry news - trends in the evolving appliance repair profession
- Tech training webinars at Appliantology.org and MasterSamuraiTech.com
- Bidness Talk: "Where can I hire good techs?"
- Tool Talk: Information tools for more effective appliance repair service calls

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Android and listen to past episodes at http://mstradio.com

 

You can listen to just the audio portion of the vodcast in the player below or subscribe on iTunes/Android:

“Where can I hire good appliance repair techs?”

Posted on February 29, 2016 by - Academy Talk, Business Talk

I talk to lots of appliance service company managers and many of them are asking, "Where can I hire good techs?" This is the wrong question! You won't find any good techs in the appliance repair trade because there are so few of them. And techs you do find with experience generally still do not have sufficient technical skills or they may have attitude/people skill problems.

The right question is, "How can I cost-effectively train someone to be a great appliance tech?"

You're going to have much better results by hiring someone based based on character: Do they have a good work ethic? Will they show up for work on time (or at all) and sober? Do they seem to have good people skills? Do they have a willingness and ability to learn, in other words, are they trainable? Once you've found someone with good character, then add the technical skills with training.

Here's the bottom line: You can't change character with training. But you CAN change technical skills inexpensively and effectively with the online tech training here at the Master Samurai Tech Academy.

 

Why We Attend the Annual Service Training Institute

Posted on January 19, 2016 by - Academy Talk, Business Talk, Tech Talk

ASTI 2016Managing schedules (and time, in general) is a common problem, especially for people in service businesses, like ours. Everything tends to be emergency driven, and we feel pressure from the demands of customers and all the other aspects of running a business. The result of constant fire-fighting is burnout.

When we stop learning and creating, we stop growing and life becomes routine, tedious, and boring. We need to deliberately set aside time to do things that that help us grow. Recreation (literally, re-creation) is one form of this. But another equally important form is training and honing our craft, and experiencing those "Ah-hah!" moments when we gain a deeper understanding of the technology we work with every day.

It is vital that we MAKE the time for some big-picture work on our business. This is why annual training events, like ASTI, are so beneficial. Not only are you in a different physical location-- taken out of your regular work space-- but you're reuniting with old friends, meeting new Brethren in the Craft, and learning tons of cool new stuff, both business and technical.

With the Master Samurai Tech Academy, we have an additional reason for attending ASTI: to get the word out on the comprehensive, cost-effective appliance tech training that we offer online! We'll have a booth again and will be running an ASTI special, but also raffling off a free enrollment in our Fundamentals of Appliance Repair training course to anyone who stops by our booth for a visit.

Speaking of the MST Academy, a recent benefit we’ve added for our students is weekly Office Hours live technical training webinars. I’ll usually have a special presentation on technical topics of particular interest to appliance techs. Some of the past topics we’ve talked about are:

  • Troubleshooting Strategies for Computer-Controlled Appliances
  • Digital Communications in Appliance Repair
  • Reading Tech Sheets and Schematics
  • Diodes and Rectification
  • Split-phase motors: theory of operation, types, and applications in appliances
  • Voltage and Voltage Drops in Electric Circuits
  • Techniques for Measuring Voltage without Getting Head-Faked by Open Neutrals and Ghost Voltages
  • Series and Parallel Circuits
  • Open Q&A on Student Coursework

I conduct these webinars using Join.me, the best service of its kind out there on the web today. I can pull up schematics and tech sheets for us to talk about and use the whiteboard app to whip out some sketches and talk through circuits.

Another big benefit of doing these weekly, live training webinars has been that we've gotten a real-time look into how, specifically, students are struggling to understand basic electricity, circuits, and schematics, and we’ll add additional videos and instructional material to the courses to address these trip points. This month alone (January 2016) we’ve added three new videos to the Fundamentals of Appliance Repair training course as a direct result of the Office Hours webinars! Here’s a 2-minute excerpt from a video we recently added to the Fundamentals course:

 

Do you know the answer?

We posted this clip on our Facebook page and got all kinds of different answers which confirms what we already knew: there’s lots of learnin’ to be done out there in the appliance tech community on basic circuits! And if you don’t know basic circuits, there’s just no way you can effectively use schematics to troubleshoot modern appliances.

Dynamic Doodle Dynamite! Another Powerful Tool For Teaching Circuits

Posted on January 14, 2016 by - Academy Talk, Tech Talk

Here's a 2-minute snippet from a recent Doodlecast video I made and added to the Fundamentals of Appliance Repair training course at the Master Samurai Tech Academy. The full video is 22 minutes and I explain current flows and voltage drops in parallel circuits using Ohm's Law.

I'm having fun making these Doodlecasts and we've found that they're a great way to explain basic electricity to appliance repair technicians!

 

If you are enrolled in the Fundamentals course, be sure to check out the full 22+ minute presentation in Module 3, Unit 4.

And to see even more of this kind of stuff, attend Office Hours, our weekly live webinars where I use presentation tools like this to explain all kinds of electrical and troubleshooting concepts.